President Trump’s dinner with “evangelical” ministers is a reminder that American Christians have every right to support the politicians and policies that their consciences may dictate. But none of us can claim to have it both ways – dictating moral constraints to the masses while excusing them in governmental officials for political purposes.
Ongoing revelations regarding sexual abuse in the Christian Church mean that we’d all better prepare our hearts – spiritually, individually and communally – with the courage of conscience to live and act in a Church and a country that is losing its bearings.
While responding to fundamentalism is exhausting, it is essential to question its immediate impact on American church/state, particularly since fundamentalist ideology seems to have become the default interpretation many American Christians implicitly or explicitly bring to bear on questions of scripture, doctrine, church and society.
My longtime friend and mentor Samuel Hill affirmed “evangelical Christianity” for its emphasis “on righteousness, love of neighbor, disciplined behavior, and a sensitive conscience.” Restoring those now-diminished gospel traits will require strong doses of “moral chemotherapy,” beyond culture privilege. It’s worth the treatment.
In American Christianity the broken bones of individual and collective division desperately need resetting.
If Christians in America cannot raise our collective voices against our government’s treatment of these “little ones,” then we’re the ones who serve a “lesser god.”
Distinguishing Right Jesus and Wrong Jesus is hard, especially when a weaponized Christ is used – right and left of center – to intimidate or exclude each other.
It’s the Spirit that turns skills into gifts. Spiritual gifts can be perpetual or fluid, required at the moment or for the long haul. Gifts come and go. It’s the Spirit that remains.
Events surrounding the dismissal and rehiring of “Father Pat” are more than a mere legislative kerfuffle. They provide important contemporary lessons in the enduring dynamics of church-state relations — old tensions, new twists.